Phonak Audeo Smart IX problems

I got a new pair of Audeo Smart IX HAs at the end of January. After setting them up with the default factory settings for my hearing profile, I was amazed at the improvement over my previous HAs (Bernafon Icos BTE from Costco). At home that evening, I could hear my wife from across the room with her back to me speaking normally. The next day, I found the fan noise was too loud every time the HAs switched back to the automatic setting when I would switch off the iCom. I went back to the audiologist (whom I will call K) that day to have them adjusted down by 8dB.

That was a mistake. I now could only understand my wife speaking if she raised her voice and was facing me—just like the old HAs. At my follow-up appointment two weeks later, I had them adjusted back up by 6dB. That night, the left HA seemed to switch in a 20dB attenuator randomly. With the myPilot, I could switch from mute to automatic and it would be normal. When it happened a few days later, I had to switch the HA off and on for it to go away. Then it happened more and more frequently until it would not change back to normal at all. With the left HA volume at maximum and the right at minimum, the right one was still louder.

K gave me another HA to try. It worked great. But this allowed me to notice that the right HA seemed to be switching on and off some of the channels. That was incredibly annoying, but I put up with it for a week until the next appointment last Monday. K gave me another HA for the right ear. On the bus ride home from K’s, it began crackling. At home, when I ran the water in the kitchen sink, it began a sort of musical buzzing sound like you would hear in a thriller or horror movie when you are supposed to be on the edge of your seat. This didn’t seem to be feedback because blocking the microphone and receiver did not stop it. It would squeal with feedback sometimes that would be stopped by sticking my finger in my ear to block the receiver from the microphone, or using the myPilot to mute the HAs. It would also shut down at times so that I had to switch it off and on to get it working again.

I was able to see R, who is K’s dispenser, and the Phonak representative (whom I will call P) last Thursday. When I first sat down with them, it squealed, so they heard the feedback themselves. P made adjustments which seemed to help. I went out to eat breakfast and experienced the crackling again in the noise of the restaurant. I called K’s office and spoke to P who had to leave, but let R know what to do. When I got there, K took me in and made some changes, which seemed to work there, but when I used the restroom, the noise of the toilet flushing made the crackling happen again. I went back again and this time, R took me in and told K that P told her what to do. After changing the receiver and the settings in the HA, I did the toilet flush test and there was no crackling. Yay! K said she was ordering another HA just to be sure.

The next day, it was all back. This time, the feedback was not a squeal, but a painful scream! This morning, I called K’s office and told them what happened and that I could not wear the right HA because of the painful screaming and asked to be seen as soon as the new HA arrived. Unbelievably, a half hour after I called, the left HA seemed to switch in a 20dB attenuator.

Does anyone have any suggestions? These are supposed to be top of the line, but two different pairs seem to be lemons.

I have the same HA’s and noticed a few of the annoying noises at first but they seem to have gone away. My first pair of Audeo YES’s had problems within one week - a persistent static noise in left. The vendor immediately replaced them with a pair of SMART’s.

The most annoying issue I have is mine automatically switch to “music” mode while watching tv - when there’s a major dramatic scene during which equally dramatically loud music is played (otherwise we wouldn’t know it was a dramatic scene, I suppose). Within 15 seconds following the scene, the HA’s switch back to normal setting. I’m going to have my audi switch off the automatic music setting for this reason - I presume I will still be able to manually switch to it using the myPilot.

I’m no expert, but it sounds like you are experiencing a programming issue which your audi isn’t dealing with correctly.

It’s been two hours now with the new right HA and there has been no crackling, feedback, or shut-downs.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

After having the new HI for two days, I again experienced the intermittent 20-dB attunuator problem on it. I set the left volume to minimum and the right to maximum and was lightly rubbing my finger across the microphones to hear the difference when I felt something sticking out on the right HI.

There was a small piece of plastic being pushed out by the reciever retention pin. I pushed the pin back in and the attenuation went away. A few hours later it was back. Pushing the pin out and back in made the attenuation stop.

A follow-up with the audiologist resulted in her ordering another instrument because this one was cracked. She did it when she inserted the reciever. She seems to have developed a brute-force attitude about installing the reciever after having difficulties when she first got my HIs. (This was her first experience with this model.)

The next day, the pin trick didn’t work, but I discovered another fix. If I pushed on my Tragus so that it sealed my ear canal, when I let it go, the attenuation stopped. But as time went on, the attenuation returned more and more quickly after the “fix.”

I got it in my head that there must have been somekind of feedback correction issue causing the attenuation that was fixed after blocking the reciever from the microphones. I took out the recievers to look at them under a microscope at work to see what the connectors looked like. Lo and behold, there were only two connector pins, not the shielded pins I had expected to see. This means that the recievers are nothing but tiny speakers, so I had to be wrong about my feedback correction theory.

I looked at the speaker end and could see a screen surrounding a tiny plastic post in the center. When I compared the right HI reciever with the left, it appeared as if there screen was covered by the same material as the tulip tips. I got out a pair of precision tweezers to try to remove some of the material and found that it came off the screen and stuck to the tweezer tip. I scraped as much off as I dared without damaging the screen and there was no attenuation problem. The HI has worked for about six hours now with no problem.

As I said, the stuff I scraped off looked like the same material as the tulip tip. It was clear and appeared to be about the same thickness as the silicon material of the tulip tip, but the way it came off and stuck to the tweezer tip made it seem like it could have been freshly applied RTV silicon sealant.

Could this have been something left from the factory? Could it have been a minute amount of cerumen mixed with prespiration? That’s what I would lean toward because after being in the drying jar overnight, the HIs did work for a couple of hours without attenuation.

It sounds like your dispenser may not know how to program these hearing aids. :rolleyes: I have done dozens of them and have not had any problems like this at all - in fact the response I have had from my patients is that they are the most natural sounding hearing aids they’ve ever worn! The static/noisiness problem often is a battery or battery contact problem and occurs very rarely in hearing aids. I have not found these hearing aids (or any other Phonak hearing aid) to jump programs or act up like you are describing. It’s either a programming issue or the receiver wires are not being correctly attached to the hearing aid body. There is a white plastic wax guard (screen) that covers the opening to the receiver - there is no other material (like the clear tip) that is part of this mechanism so there may have been material from your ear or something that was added there by the dispenser.

Incidentally, if your hearing aids are set up for volume controls on the hearing aids, the right one increases the volume for both and the left one decreases the volume for both. There is no way to adjust the volume independently unless you are using the MyPilot remote.

Hope this helps…!:slight_smile:

When my right HI was replaced and set up with the same settings as the one giving the feedback problem, I believe the problem was with the HI itself, not just incorrect programming.

[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]However, the sound of some channels dropping out in the original right HI may very well have been a programming issue. The attenuation problem with the original left HI was probably the same as what I am now experiencing with the right HI.

My right HI began to do the intermittent attenuation thing again this afternoon, so I looked at it again with the microscope, but this time with maximum magnification. I could now see color in the material on the wax guard, so I am sure that it is cerumen. I got most of it out, but broke the screen in the process.

Are these as easily replaced as the tulip tip—or even part of the tip?[/FONT][/COLOR]

Hi JD,
I also have the Smart IXs which overall I think are great, much more comfortable than my Oticon synchros. I, too, am having this problem when watching TV when the sound suddenly changes and gets louder and actually clearer. I didn’t know what was causing it but what you say about switching into music mode makes so much sense! I’ll bring this up with my audi.

I now have my onboard button for the 1st setting set to direct zoom with touch and this makes a big difference when I go into loud places like cafes. It makes the speaker in front of me much clearer. However, the background noise becomes even louder and this is bothersome, so I will ask my audi to adjust it.

In general, I’m still having some trouble in loud places in general. I don’t think I should always have to do a manual change and would like the hearing aids to adjust better automatically to a loud environment.

I believe the audi I’m using is competent, but not great but I used this person because the audi is in network and I was able to get a great price on the HAs. But there is another audi in my area who specializes in Phonaks so I’m going to her this week and will pay the $90 for an office visit with the hope that her expertise will really bring out the full benefits of these truly amazing HAs. I know they can be adjusted to function even better than they are now so I hope I don’t have too many visits, though, at $90 a pop.

I have the second setting on my onboard button set to duo mode for telephones where it plays the phone call in both ears. I have to admit I don’t use it alot because it seems to take a few secs to kick in and is awkward to do so when I am on the cell phone, in particular. I’m still testing out the feature. When it does engage I think it was effective, but I haven’t used it all that much. I’ll have to give it another try. Anyone else have better results with Duophone?

What have others set their onboard button programming to?


could you perhaps post up your audiogram? I’m curious as to the degree of your hearing loss…

Here it is.

After getting the new right HI, I am now experiencing the left HI adjusting itself while in the Automatic setting when my boss speaks to me in the room with loud fans operating. When it happens, the fan noise overcomes his soft, high-pitched voice.

Does anyone else with the Audeo Smart HIs experience one HI adjusting itself independently of the other?